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February 11, 2010

Almanac spotlight: mid-range classics

Nokia 5230GLOBAL – Devices like the Nokia N900 might hog the limelight, but that isn’t where the mobile computer story ends. As features trickle down through the range, devices that are usually dubbed feature phones are rapidly getting smarter. Sure, they might not boast all the features and functionality of top-end devices, but they’re bringing a wider range of apps and services to a much bigger group of people. And for that, mid-range classics, we salute you. We’ve raided the Almanac to pick out three of our favourites. These are very much devices of today, but we can’t help wonder what these devices might look like in the future. What do you think? Tell us in the comments below!Nokia 6700 classic Nokia 6700 classic

6700 classic snapshot: 2.2in TFT / 240 x 320 resolution / HSDPA / 116.5g / Bluetooth / 5MP camera / assisted GPS / standby time: 300 hours

The 6700 has made our job easier by actually having the word “classic” in its title. And it’s no empty boast either, as the 6700 has that mix of practicality, versatility and value for money that we’ve seen so often from Nokia down the years.

Its understated, unfussy design earned it the moniker of “little black dress of phones” and is unlikely to date too quickly, while the metal finish adds a degree of ruggedness that too often is ignored at this price point.

Surprises come in the form of a very capable 5-megapixel camera and assisted GPS. It all adds up to a mobile all-rounder that consistently punches above its weight – in true Nokia classic tradition.

Nokia 5310 XpressMusicNokia 5310 XpressMusic

5310 XpressMusic snapshot: 2.1in TFT / 240 x 320 resolution / 71g / Bluetooth / 2MP camera / standby time: 300 hours

The 5310 wasn’t Nokia’s first full-blooded stab at the music phone genre when it appeared just over two years ago, but it was the first one that nailed the look and feel its target market were looking for.

The bold, colourful design makes it instantly recognisable, and its tiny profile and feather-light weight means it can be tucked away in a pocket as easily as any MP3 player.

It has the audio smarts to back it up too, thanks to a dedicated audio chip and premium earphones. Features like GPS and 3G internet have been jettisoned along the way, but the 5310 is a hugely popular music phone, and certainly earns its tag as a mid-range wonder.

Nokia 5230Nokia 5230

5230 snapshot: 3.2in resistive touchscreen TFT / 360 x 640 resolution / HSDPA / 115g / Bluetooth / 2MP camera / assisted GPS / standby time: 432 hours

The 5230 hasn’t been around all that long, but for our money it’s already got the look of a classic in the making. It’s Nokia’s cheapest touchscreen phone yet, and throws in a pretty impressive spec for a handset in its price range.

Its primary remit, though, is social networking, and with high-speed internet, a finger-friendly interface and access to Facebook and the like directly from the homescreen, the 5230 gives you all the tools you need.

With its generous feature set and attractive price tag, the good-looking 5230 hits all the right buttons and gets our nod as a future classic in the making.